July 26, 2005

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Toast IT

Charo and the others have been telling me to join the Toastmasters for
the longest time. After sifting through a number of Toronto-based
groups, I finally settled on Toast I.T.,
which meets every Tuesday a few blocks away from school. I attended my
first meeting as a guest, and I had tons of fun.

For the table topics game, we had one minute to prepare and one minute
to present. Topics were randomly drawn from an envelope, and people
could pass if they wanted to. Everyone would vote, and the winner
would have the privilege of keeping the club trophy/mascot for the
meeting.

Tonight’s topic: superpowers.

The table topics master started the game going. His superpowers were
encyclopedic knowledge and lightning-fast computation, and he made us
laugh by pointing out all of the everyday things that such superpowers
would solve. At what point does buying a transit pass make more sense
than buying tickets individually? How much would you need to pay for
gas in order to get somewhere? How much would you have to pay in
taxes? I’m sure he was thinking on his feet, but he was thinking so
quickly that the words flowed as smoothly as in any well-prepared
speech.

The group was surprised when I chose to rise to the challenge of
public speaking. I guess most guests are terrified of speaking in
front of a crowd of strangers. My superpower was the ability to win
beauty contests. I wracked my brain for a good use for that and I
couldn’t find any, but here’s sorta what I came up with: (can’t
remember that clearly)

I’m five feet one-fourth inch tall—and that one-fourth inch is very
important, mind you. I have glasses and pimples. But it doesn’t
matter, because I’ve got a superpower. I can win any beauty contest I
want. (pause) Who’d have figured? I love using my superpower to make a
point… and it certainly helps me promote my projects!

Back in the Philippines, there was an IT pageant. A search for role
models. (pause) The application asked for, of all things, bust size,
waist and hip measurements. (pause and shrug) With my A-cup, my
waist—let’s not even talk about my hips—I could go right in there,
win the thing… and _then_ show them that it’s not how you look but
what you _do_ that counts.

Much fun. =)

There was a girl who could catch and control fire, a guy who could
produce gadgets from somewhere, an old man who said that a forcefield
would be incredibly useful for deflecting the slings and arrows of
outrageous fortunes—or rotten tomatoes and lettuces from other
Toastmasters on the occasion of a really bad speech…

Good stuff! I voted for the forcefield guy because he was funny. =)
The sergeant-at-arms was happy to announce that someone had won by a
landslide…

… but not as happy as I was. ;) Well, that made my day. I can’t wait
to go to the next one!

私は父からコンピューターゲームがあたえられた。 I was given a computer game by my father.

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My banking needs

I need a Canada-based credit card for most of my purchases. I’ll keep
track of all of the purchases and pay it off in full each month. This
is more for convenience and credit history than actual credit. Also,
using a credit card for most of my transactions reduces the number of
debit transactions I’ll need to make at the ATM.

I need a savings account with Internet banking that either allows me
to auto-debit credit card payments at the end of each month or lets me
transfer the funds online. Most of my research grant will sit there.
If I can get high interest, all the better.

If not, I can maintain a current account with good ATM placement and
no withdrawal fees for my day-to-day cash expenses. I’m tracking cash
and credit separately, so I should be able to get an idea of how much
cash I’ll need each week.

So, what are my options?

The International Student Center‘s page on transferring funds to Canada lists the following banks as being close to the St. George campus.

The Toronto Dominion Bank

Bloor & Bay Branch

77 Bloor Street West

Toronto, Ontario

M5S 1M2

The Bank of Nova Scotia

Bloor & Spadina Branch

332 Bloor Street West

Toronto, Ontario

M5S 1W6

The Royal Bank of Canada

Harbord & Spadina Branch

648 Spadina

Toronto, Ontario

M5S 2H7

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

Spadina & College Branch

268 College Street

Toronto, Ontario

M5T 1S1

The Bank of Montreal

Bloor & St. George Branch

262 Bloor Street West

Toronto, Ontario

M5S 1V9

For President’s Choice:

LOBLAWS

12 St. Clair Ave E

Toronto, ON

Credit card (no annual fee, 18.5% interest rate)

PC Mastercard .
TD Canada Trust Green Visa Pre-authorized payment service from Canadian banks
Scotiabank Student Credit Cards Tiered moneyback promo calculated yearly. 0.25% for CAD 0 – CAD 1499.99, 0.5% for CAD 1500 to 2999.99, 1.0% for CAD 3000 and up
Royal Bank of Canada Student Visa Classic .
CIBC Classic Card for Students seems to require citizenship
Bank of Montreal Mosaik Mastercard .
Current account

President’s Choice No Fee Bank Account

- Free, unlimited Internet and phone transactions
- Free CIBC network transactions
- Free Interac direct payments
- Free chequing

TD Canada Trust Companion Savings Account

- Two free debits per month, CAD 1.25 fee / debit afterwards.
- Bill payments CAD 1.25 plus debit fee
- CAD 0 – CAD 4,999.99: 0.05% interest, CAD 5,000 and over: 0.25% interest

Scotiabank Student Banking Advantage Plan

- Free transactions with minimum balance of CAD 2,000.
- Else, CAD 1.25 monthly fee covers 12 non-teller transactions. Extra at CAD 0.25 each (including Internet banking).
- Includes $500 credit limit on Scotiabank Classic Visa and no annual fee while student

Royal Bank of Canada Student Banking

- CAD 3.50 a month, 25 free debits, CAD 0.50 per additional debit
- Interac fee: CAD 1.50, PLUS: CAD 3.00

CIBC Student Advantage

- CAD 1000 minimum balance = no monthly fee for 0 to 10 transactions, CAD 0.30 for additional transactions(?)
- Reapply every year for student advantage

Savings account

President’s Choice Interest First Savings Account

- 2.15% interest (now 4% with balance of CAD 1000)
- Automatic savings plan

ING Direct

- 2.4% interest
- Four free Interac transactions per month, CAD 0.75 for succeeding transactions
- ATM at intersection of University Ave. and Adelaide St., free transactions

Scotiabank Money Master

- 2% interest
- Free transfer to other Scotiabank services. CAD 5.00 debit fee for others.

Decisions

I’ve decided to go with President’s Choice Financial because it’s a pretty good deal in terms of both offline and online banking. One of my labmates keeps her accounts there, and she’s quite happy with it. Good stuff. I’ll apply for a social insurance number (25 St Clair Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario, M4T 3A4), and then open a current and savings account. If I can get a credit card off them too, yay.

私はパソコンを修理してもらいました。 I had my personal computer repaired.

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Paper inbox planner

The Paper Planner Inbox is a good post about
keeping an “inbox” section in your planner.

My index cards used to be my inbox as well as my semi-persistent
storage, but now I need something with a bit more order. I really like
my calendar, and if I can find a small six-ring planner with weekly
forms that also have day and week goals, I’d buy it in a jiffy. I’m
also interested in getting a six-ring puncher. Must find a large
stationery store…

火災で全てのコンピューターデイスクが駄目になってしまった時、会社はもうお手上げの状況だった。 The company was really up shit creek when a fire destroyed all their computer discs.

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How to fold a shirt

Clair passed me a link to that nifty tutorial on folding shirts. I wonder if the trick works with the long-sleeved blouses I like wearing. See, _that’s_ why I post all of these personal stories online. People share useful tips and stories. =) Thanks, everyone!

It turns out I’m not the only one with laundry problems, too. Numerous
people have written in with their own misadventures and tips. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

- Don’t mix colored shirts with white ones. (Yup, I knew that. Good thing I learned it from other people’s mistakes…)
- Use mesh bags for socks. (My mom will bring me a few.)
- If you fold your laundry right after you take it out of the dryer, you don’t really need to iron your clothes.

仕事場にコンピューターを設置した。 We have equipped our office with computers.

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